Day 20: Are you aware? Really AWARE?

What does it mean to be made aware? Really aware of something?

Okay, so you know about something. Someone made you aware either by telling you, you read about it, or you saw something about it. Perhaps someone shared their knowlege with you. Or they wrote about it or made a movie or documentary about it. Somehow, some way, some where, you found out about Parkinson’s disease. Or Alzheimers. Or the Little Mermaid. Or haircuts, first kisses, Barbies, or flip-flops. 

You became watchful about whatever became interesting or important to you. Where once you never noticed, it now seemed like information or interest was booming. Like getting a new car. While you’re looking for a specific model, it seems you now notice that once elusive care everywhere. And yet, it’s always been there. You just never really noticed. Your conscious has a new target. You are awakened to something that had once been unnoticed. You’re on the watch.

Sometimes, though, we do know but we just don’t want to notice. If we don’t notice, we won’t have to do anything. We won’t have to deal with it. Things like go to the doctor. Or getting a haircut. Replacing a dripping faucet. Making a life-changing decision. 

Choosing to be aware is choosing to make a difference and if you choose to make a difference, you’ll have to do something. This is true in everything. Politics, church, health, etc. 

In terms of Parkinson’s disease, if you’re wanting to make a difference, start getting involved now. There are several avenues:

  • clinical trials for patients and non-patients; not all are invasive and many are just observing
  • support groups for patients and caregivers – don’t just be an observer – lead!
  • social get-togethers
  • exercise groups
  • write an article for a newspaper/magazine
  • join a network
  • ask a local/state/national organization what you specifcally might be able to do
  • become a dedicated advocate locally 
  • join a fund-raiser or start your own
Now, if you’re wondering how in the world I can post this on Easter Sunday…

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?  Isaiah 40:21,22

There was a cross. Someone stepped up onto that cross so you didn’t have to because all that stuff you’ve done wrong? All those times you said something hurtful? Someone had to suffer the consequences and so someone did. But, maybe you weren’t aware of that. Maybe you didn’t want to be. 

Maybe you think what’s done is past. And it is. But maybe only to you. Maybe the person you betrayed still bleeds. Maybe the lie you told still lingers. Maybe the guilt you feel has dissipated but the repercussions from the act that caused your guilt have caused resentment, retaliation, remorse.

There was a cross where now a door now stands and someone is standing just on the other side, knocking. Are you aware? Have you heard it? Do you not know who is standing there? Do you not understand?

If you are aware, you must make a choice and whatever choice you make, will make a difference. 

You can choose to open that door and accept the good news that no matter what you’ve done has been paid for because of the One who will be standing, who is waiting on the other side. The One who will walk with you into, through, and out of any valley you ever have or will have to face. Maybe it’s Parkinson’s disease. Maybe it’s grieving over a lost loved one. An affair. A divorce. Unemployment. Loss of medical benefits. The list could go on. And on. And on. And it does. And sometimes we think we can handle it and soemtimes we know we can’t.

And so we try to run and the door flies open at our request and there He is. And we have a choice to make.

And it will make a difference.

We can push Him aside, spit on the cross and deny our need for Him. Or, we can embrace Him, see that He’s who He said He was (and still is), be forgiven and set free and find that which we’ve been missing.

Either way, there will be a difference.

Which will you choose? Live in chains? or be set free?

He’s knocking…

Happy Easter. He is risen. Indeed.

Day 19: It’s Not All Parkinson’s Fault

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Here something most people without PD don’t realize…

The time for a cure is

 

not tomorrow, not next week, not in the future, but 

Leonardo daVinci said, 

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. 

Knowing is not enough; 

we must apply. 

Being willing is not enough; 

we must do.”


So I ask you…


Time could be running out…

Help to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

©parkinsonsjourney.com

 

Day 18: I Don’t Feel Like It

I told a friend last night that I feel disconnected. Disconnected from the PD ‘loop’, ‘circle’, whatever. If you’re involved with a Facebook PD ‘group’, you know that there is a growing force of people trying to make a difference in finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease. They are trying to get people to step out of their comfort zones (for some) and get involved in fund-raising and bringing awareness to this debilitating disease.

However, I feel disconnected. Or perhaps a better word for it is… apathetic. Not intentionally. Not purposefully. Not willingly. I just do. And then I read this in the newest issue of the Northwest Parkinson’s Disease Foundation newsletter:

Barchester, UK – Apathy among people with Parkinson’s disease is a sign that the condition is getting worse, claims a new scientific study.

A new scientific study suggests that apathy shown by a person with Parkinson’s disease is a sign that the condition is worsening.

Research published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry suggest that apathy can be caused by changes in the brain resulting from the condition, Parkinson’s UK reports.

The Norwegian study followed a group of 79 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease over a four-year period.

Commenting on the findings, Parkinson’s UK’s director of research Dr Kieron Breen said: “This is an important study that helps increase our knowledge and understanding of one of the common non-movement related symptoms of Parkinson’s.”

 

He went on to say that the charity’s own research had found apathy to be a common symptom, while understanding why people with the condition may be apathetic may help carers.

One in every 500 people in the UK has Parkinson’s disease, equating to around 120,000 people living with the condition, according to Parkinson’s UK.

So, perhaps my apathy is grounded. I surely hope not. Not now, not ever. I want to run this race in life well. I want to get to the end and know I did what I could with the opportunities I had and not look back with regrets. I want to be an encouragement to others and not a source of discouragement. But – sometimes we get too busy comparing our walk with others along the way. We feel inadequate if we aren’t doing what others are doing or prodding us to do. And that’s okay. Sometimes it’s not our turn to run. Sometimes it’s okay to walk and take your time. If we were all running at once, people would be getting shoved off the trail, knocked down and trampled on.

Maybe you’re discouraged today because you feel like you’re not doing enough to find a cure for PD or Alzheimer’s or Breast Cancer Research or MS or whatever it is you're fighting. Maybe it’s your turn to walk. Maybe it’s time to take a rest on the bench and give/donate to someone who is more able to run this time around. Whatever it is – do something, no matter how small – even writing a note of encouragement to someone on the front lines right now, fighting for a cure. Just don’t let apathy take over and keep you on the bench.

 

Day 17: Who Are They?

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What do these four men have in common?

They may all love kittens.

They all have winsome smiles.

At least one loved to draw cartoons.

For certain – they all have (or had) PD.

 

Who are they?

From left to right, top to bottom:

Johnny Cash (diagnosis at age 67)

Billy Graham (diagnosis at age 72)

Charles Schulz (diagnosis at age 76)

Michael J. Fox (diagnosis at age 30)

 

Day 16: Here’s What PD Feels Like and What DBS Did…

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I have been blessed by having Parkinson’s disease. Do I like having it? NO. But I have seen and experienced tremendous blessings because of it. Here are a few:

  • I have met and have had the privilege of knowing and being treated by one of the most knowlegeable, gifted, and wisest men in the movement disorders area of neurology. He has treated me for over ten years now and I feel blessed to be able to call him not just my neurologist, but friend.
  • I have had to learn to receive because I can no longer just give. This was a very uncomfortable but incredible blessing.
  • I have learned anew the worth and value of each fleeting moment, each new day.
  • I have met some incredible people because of this disease. My favorites? Hands down – Judy Hensley and Tina Lagonegro to name two. Here’s why…
First there is a deep bond because of the Lord. Add with it Parkinson’s disease and you add a level of understanding that is hard to have unless one has walked a similar path. 
 
Judy and I met online through a community  health forum. We hit it off right away. She has become to me a comrade, a blessing beyond words and one of my dearest friends. I had the priviledge of meeting her several years ago when I was able to go and spend two weeks with her in Tennessee. I reflected on that trip upon returning home and was quite surprised at myself. First of all that I did something very unlike me (visiting someone I had never met (in person) – solo, mind you). Secondly that the visit was two weeks long with someone I had never met in person. And third, my reflecting made me realize that within that two weeks I never once felt awkward, uncomfortable, or like we had never met. Kindred spirits. There is no one like Judy, who if you didn’t know, owns the famous ‘da Coat, which has helped in raising awareness for PD worldwide.
 
And then there is Tina. There is no one like Tina. Tina is one of the sweetest women I’ve ever known and like Judy and I, also loves to see the wonder of God through the lens of the camera. Tina is an inspiration and a great encouragement to me. I’ve yet to meet her in person, but I am sure it will be as if we have known each other forever.
 
I mention these two wonderful women because they are blessings born out of having Parkinson’s disease. And also to lead into a video that Tina is in where she shares her struggle with PD. I encourage you to watch it if you want a first hand account of what PD is really like. (Tina’s section begins approximately 4:20)
 
 
The following photos were taken by Tina:
 
 
 
 
 
The following photos were taken by Judy Hensley:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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